Do you see a pattern here? I do. If you will allow - let me regress for just a minute. When my children were small and I was newly divorced from their father, I was also a brand new teacher and on a new teacher salary. I had just bought a new house, on my own, and I was on a really tight budget. So, I started doing a monthly menu plan because, as a teacher, we were paid once a month. It worked for me then and I kept doing for about six or seven years. By then I had started making a little more money and I didn't "feel the pinch" so much. Then about three years after that Dan and I were married and the monthly menu plan went completely away.
In 2003 Dan and I retired. While Dan had been with the school system for thirty three and a half years, I took an early retirement and therefore my retirement check is NOT very much. Right after we retired we moved to North Carolina and Dan was not receiving Social Security yet - so we were living on our two retirement checks (which really meant we were living on Dan's check because my check was enough to pay for our health insurance). So, once again, I started to do the monthly menu's as a way to pinch pennies, because once again, we were only paid once a month. Well, that lasted until I went back to work in the Real Estate field and started to make some money plus Dan started to draw his Social Security check. Then, once again, I quit doing the menu's once we weren't "feeling the pinch", plus I didn't think I 'had the time' with all the time I was putting in at work.
Fast forward to 2012 - and we are "feeling the pinch" again. I am not working - again. The economy is not that great (well, can we all say "duh!"), and we have some added expenses that we were not expecting. So - the good ole monthly menu idea has come back. Now, you might wonder why I am going to do a Monthly menu plan instead a weekly plan - and that is a very good question, and I have several very good answers for you. First is the time factor. It takes just a little while longer to plan for a month than for a week at the beginning of the month - but then you don't have to worry about it again for the whole month. So, to me, it saves me time. Second - you are not tied to a certain thing. For example, if I had Pepper Steak planned for tonight but I didn't want to fix Pepper Steak (or, we had unexpected company), I could look at another day of the month - say where I have planned Spaghetti that will feed more people - and fix that instead. I have what I need in the house because I have it planned for the month - and I'll just fix the Pepper Steak on the day I had originally planned the Spaghetti - in other words - the menu is not rigid or "written in stone". It just gives me guidance and I don't have to try and figure out what I'm going to do every day - just look at the calandar.
Which brings me to another point - the format for the menu. I print out a blank monthly calandar from my computer and use it for the menu -
I also write in pencil - that way you can change your mind as you are planning. (Just saying).
I don't think that you can read the menu above so what I will do today is give you the monthly menu by day - then each week, if anyone would like, I'll go back and give you any recipes you would like to have for that week. If you would like to let me know how you think that will work, or let me know of any recipe you would like in the comments, I'll give it to you on the Monday of the week that I have it planned.
Now, here is the menu's for the month of January:
1st - Pork Chops, Greens, Black-eyed peas; Rice; and Cornbread
2nd - Chicken & Yellow Rice* w/Green Peas; Salad
3rd - Chili & Crackers
4th - Dan's Doctor's Appt. in Lakeland (eat out)
5th - Roast Chicken; Stuffing; Green Beans; Biscuits
6th - Movie Night - HOMEMADE PIZZA
7th - Chicken Burritos *; Refried Beans
8th - Crop Pot Pork Roast; Roasted Potatoes; Broccoli & Cheese
9th - Jambalaya & Rice
10th - Easy Taco Soup
11th - Waffles & Bacon
12th - Chicken Chimichangas; Spanish Rice
13th - Movie Night - HOMEMADE PIZZA
14th - B.B.Q Pork Sandwiches *; Baked Beans; French Fries
15th - County Ribs; Potato Salad; Baked Beans*
16th - Chicken Alfredo; Pasta; Salad
17th - Crock Pot Country Vegetable Soup; Cornbread
18th - Pepper Steak; Rice
19th - Southwestern Taco Pie
20th - Movie Night - HOMEMADE PIZZA
21st - Hamburgers ; French Fries
22nd - Ham; Great Northern Beans' Cornbread
23rd - Tangy Chicken; Mashed Potatoes; Broccoli
24th - Crock Pot Shrimp Gumbo; Rice
25th - Meat Loaf; Mashed Potatoes; Honey Carrots
26th - Spaghetti Bake; Garlic Bread
27th - Movie Night - HOMEMADE PIZZA
28th - Steak; Baked Potatoes; Salad; Rolls
29th - Skillet Macaroni & Beef
30th - Chicken Enchilada Casserole
31st - Crock Pot Black Bean & Sausage Stew
(* - left overs)
Hope you enjoy and will get some ideas for my menu plan. If you would like some other ideas for monthly menus there are lots of other sites that are also doing menu plans - a couple that I like are www.orgjunkie.com/blog or http://www.goodcheapeats.com/. Check them out for some other ideas.
I would be interested in knowing if you plan your menus for the week or month - or are you a "fly by the seat of your pants" kind of cook? Also, let me know what you think of this idea of the menu plan - do you like it, or would you rather I not post it every month. Please let me know - I really would like to know!